Wednesday 21 November 2018

Vote must go with O’Brien’s only Vase contender Hans Holbein

Trainer Aidan O' Brien
Trainer Aidan O' Brien

Aidan O’Brien likes to bring his Classic hopefuls to Chester so it may be telling he fields only Hans Holbein from a clutch of entries in the MBNA Chester Vase.

A half-brother to quality stayer Sans Frontieres, Hans Holbein took three attempts to get his head in front but has clashed with some good rivals in th eprocess.

He was a touch disappointing when sent off an odds-on favourite on his return at Cork last month, being comprehensively beaten by Summaya.

That filly has since gone on to show up well in a hot Listed event, while Hans Holbein made all of the running for a Leopardstown maiden success.

Hans Holbein certainly has something to find with some of his rivals but appears to be still improving and is worth a chance.

Cannock Chase can build on a promising return with victory in the Betfair Huxley Stakes.

Connections have high hopes for the four-year-old this term, with Group One entries in the likes of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the Eclipse demonstrating the kind of level Michael Stoute’s charge is expected to reach.

Their confidence in the Lemon Drop Kid colt looked well placed after a three-year-old campaign that saw Cannock Chase progress from a maiden win at Windsor, to handicap success at Newbury before graduating to Group Three standard when victorious in the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot.

However, a string of minor issues saw Cannock Chase sidelined for the rest of the campaign as Stoute took the patient approach and allowed his charge plenty of recovery time.

Cannock Chase appeared in need of the outing on his return at Sandown last month, finding himself in a less than ideal position before trying to pick up which proved too big an ask against Western Hymn and Postponed.

He was hardly disgraced in being beaten three lengths and should strip much fitter here, although the ground may not be totally ideal.

Collaboration can bring up a hat-trick in the IG Handicap following excellent wins at Windsor and Epsom.

He appeared to feel the benefit of a winter wind operation when winning on his reappearance at Windsor, but a 6lb penalty looked sure to apply the brakes a little when lining up in the City And Suburban Stakes at Epsom.

However, Andrew Balding’s charge made a mockery of that mark, winning by four and a half lengths and shooting up 10lb in the ratings.

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